This coming Wednesday is Women’s Equality Day to commemorate the passing of the 19th amendment giving women the right to vote.
Those two sentences, there’s just so much to reckon with in just those two sentences. Beginning with the name - Women's Equality Day. First, in my most cynical moments, and this is one, it feels like a euphemism for Women’s Inequality Day. Secondly, due to our antiracist education, we are now woefully aware that the 19th amendment didn’t give all women the right to vote. Reading over this list of 35 black suffragists is enough material for an entire course, which it should definitely be. The invisibility of these women in the suffragist movement is not only insulting, it robs us all of the rich history of women in general.
While I was researching this subject, I found this great article from Time commemorating Representative Bella Abzug who was the champion of The Women's Equality Day. I didn’t know and maybe you didn’t either, that on August 26th, 1971, 50,000 women marched down 5th Avenue to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, granting American women the right to vote. In the article, Time notes that “they were also protesting the limits and expectations placed on American womanhood, demanding changes to childcare and abortion policies and education and employment opportunities.” Sound familiar? Fifty years goes by and access to reproductive healthcare, childcare, domestic violence and equal pay are still issues.
I know that many of the women that might be reading this are the primary breadwinners in their families. And many of us are the sole earners. But consider this, according to Payscale.com, which updated their Gender Pay Gap Report for 2020 in March, women earn up to $900K less than men over the course of a 40 year career. If that’s true, just think how much more peanut butter and jelly you could’ve bought for your kids, not to mention your student loans! And in the control group, where they’re controlling for men and women with the same job title and qualifications, a woman making a median annual salary of $60,700 in 2020, would need to work more than a year longer to earn the same as a man in his lifetime.
Oh, it’s better. And I often think that we have 45 to thank. Apparently, there’s nothing like having a pussy grabbing, child molesting, antifemisit in the White House to catalyze women into running for office. Huzzah!
Ultimately, in my opinion, while Women’s Equality Day at it’s inception was to commemorate our right to vote, by its very name August 26th is actually celebrating the possibility of equality for women. That includes equal pay, equal opportunity, strong options for childcare, strong advocacy around domestic violence, and of course, freedom of choice around reproductive healthcare. Put that all together and Women’s Equality Day is all about unfettered access to our dreams! What’s so exhilarating about Kamala Harris as the VP nominee is that she personifies a woman achieving her dreams. An ambitious woman!
How can women support each other in achieving their dreams? Vote for women!
All that is to say that it’s now been 100 years since the 19th amendment was signed into law, and we’re still nowhere near full representation in our government - federal, state or local. So many women have worked so hard for the last 100 years - here’s what you can do now to honor them:
Pick a women candidate and volunteer or donate to her campaign
Make sure all your peeps are registered to vote
Adopt a battleground state via Vote Save America.
If you’re mailing in your vote, do so as soon as possible and no later than October 2nd - mark it on your calendar, ladies!